This buffalo chicken salad recipe is absolutely packed full of flavor while still being good for you! Complete with a rich and creamy ranch-style dressing, blue cheese crumbles, and spicy buffalo chicken, this salad is quick and easy to prepare making it a great healthy weeknight dinner or meal prep idea for healthy lunches.
What is Buffalo Chicken?
Buffalo chicken typically refers to deep-fried, unbreaded chicken wings coated in a spicy sauce made of vinegar, cayenne pepper hot sauce, and melted butter, also known as Buffalo sauce. The spice level can vary from mild to extra-spicy and Buffalo chicken wings are commonly served with celery and a side of blue cheese dressing as a cooling dip for the spicy chicken.
How to Make Healthy Buffalo Chicken
While Buffalo chicken isn’t inherently unhealthy, it’s made with mostly real food after all, due to the deep-frying and copious amount of butter used in the traditional recipe it tends to be a little richer and higher in calories than other methods of preparing chicken. By simply swapping the chicken wings for chicken breasts, butter for olive oil, and trading the deep-frying for grilling, you can easily create a lower calorie, lower fat, and higher protein version of Buffalo chicken. Plus, by serving the chicken on a salad you can create a well-balanced meal packed full of vegetables and fiber.
Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Lettuce: Crunchy lettuce provides a nice base for a buffalo chicken salad. While you can certainly use any leafy green you like, such as spring mix, spinach, or iceberg lettuce, I think romaine lettuce works best.
- Vegetables: Buffalo chicken is traditionally served with celery sticks and carrot sticks, which would both pair nicely in this salad, however, I opted to mix things up and include thinly sliced cucumber, radish, and red onion instead. If you want to increase the vegetable content, diced tomatoes, corn, and avocado would also pair nicely.
- Buffalo Chicken: Combine your favorite hot sauce, I suggest Frank’s Red Hot, olive oil, and a bit of garlic as a quick and easy marinade and finishing sauce for the chicken. If you’re concerned about sodium content, simply use a low-sodium hot sauce instead.
- Blue Cheese: Finish your salad with chunks of crumbled blue cheese.
- Ranch Dressing: Mix a few pantry staples to create a healthy ranch-style dressing or use your favorite store-bought version if you’re in a pinch.
To me, this is the perfect recipe for nights when you need a quick, easy and healthy meal in a pinch. Not only is the chicken made with pantry staples, but the salad ingredients are incredibly versatile, or you can omit the salad idea altogether and simply serve the chicken as is with a simple side of rice or potatoes, and vegetables of your choice.
More Healthy Chicken Salad Recipes:Print
Buffalo Chicken Salad
Layered with crunchy greens, veggies, blue cheese and Buffalo chicken, this salad is a flavor-packed meal perfect for lunch or dinner. If you’re making it as a meal prep idea, wait to add the dressing until you’re ready to eat.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 2 salads 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Grilled
- Cuisine: American
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 head romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, shredded or thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dill, dried
- 1/4 teaspoon parsley, dried
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- In a large bowl, add the hot sauce, olive oil, and garlic powder and whisk to combine. Add the chicken breasts, turn to coat them in the mixture, then allow to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature or transfer to the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
- In a small bowl or jar, add the dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined. Taste, adjust the seasoning as needed, and then set it aside.
- When the chicken is ready, heat a grill, frying pan, or cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat, then add the chicken breasts and cook for 6-8 minutes per side, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through, or the internal temperature reads 165°F. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing into bite-size pieces.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the salads; divide the chopped lettuce, shredded carrots, sliced radishes and cucumbers across two separate bowls.
- Top each bowl with sliced chicken and crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with dressing just before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 salad
- Calories: 429 calories
- Sugar: 10 grams
- Fat: 22 grams
- Carbohydrates: 25 grams
- Fiber: 9 grams
- Protein: 38 grams
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